India sets Aussies on collision course with NRL
Australia has been boxed out of the ring by cricket heavyweights India only to land in the path of Bali brawler Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
Following a political power play by the Indians that threw plans into chaos, Cricket's bizarre summer draw will finish with three home one-dayers against New Zealand next March, directly clashing with round one of the NRL season.
The first ODI against the Black Caps on March 13 at the SCG will compete against grand finalists Canberra taking on Gold Coast, as well as the box office opening of the new Cowboys Stadium in Townsville, where North Queensland will play host to arch rivals Brisbane.
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But the clash of the codes really comes to a head on the Sunday.
The second ODI on March 15, also at the Sydney Cricket Ground, will go directly up against a rugby league grudge match - Manly taking on Melbourne - in the same city.
Should the summer end in an underwhelming fashion to match Sunday's inauspicious start in Adelaide with only 16,268 attending the first T20 against Sri Lanka, the Australian cricket team runs the risk of being beaten at the turnstiles by a 'Battle of Brookvale' 18,000 sellout on the north side of the bridge, featuring Storm destroyer, Asofa-Solomona.
There was no NRL ban for Asofa-Solomona and he is free to face the Sea Eagles after the integrity unit reviewed footage of his wild fight with revellers in Bali and was comfortable he was coming to the defence of teammate Suliasi Vunivalu who had earlier been king hit by a member of the same group.
The night session of the cricket on Sunday, March 15 will then compete against St George Illawarra v Wests Tigers, a game which will entice some Sydneysiders to make the trip down to Wollongong.
The Sydney Roosters have also been impacted by the overlapping of the winter and summer seasons at the SCG, forced to play away to Penrith in round one, robbing home fans of the chance to unfurl the banner after creating history with back-to-back premierships.
Given the SCG didn't have enough time to prepare a pitch for the first domestic Sheffield Shield match just a fortnight after the Roosters finished training, the SCG would face a major logistical challenge to get its turf right to host the Chooks' round two match.
Cricket's hodgepodge schedule resulting in the unfortunate timing of the ODIs against New Zealand in football season, has been caused by a India pulling rank.
India is demanding Australia abandon home shores in the prime of the summer in January to play matches against them in the subcontinent - the slot where Cricket Australia would have preferred to host New Zealand.